Bob Arum: Wilder Can Take a Tune Up, Fight Fury in the Fall
On a recently episode of ESPN’s First Take, commentator Max Kellerman managed to confuse a number of hardcore and casual fans alike. He accomplished this by stating that even if Deontay Wilder, the former WBC world heavyweight champion, activated his rematch clause, the rematch would still require Fury’s approval. Obviously, this idea was off-putting because it directly flies in the face of what a rematch clause is all about.
CLEARING THE AIR
Luckily, in rather quick fashion, Bob Arum of Top Rank promotions and half of Tyson Fury’s promotional team, afforded his time to ThaBoxingVoice. While on the podcast, Arum explained how Kellerman’s fanciful statements could not be any further from the truth. When directly asked about the renegade claim, Arum quoted straight from the contract.
“That is totally incorrect. If the loser, being Wilder, opts out, that’s his business. If the loser, being Wilder, says I want the immediate rematch, no doubt Fury and Top Rank are bound by the existing contract and that rematch happens immediately. Fury and Top Rank have no say in this.”
REMATCH, NOT NECESSARILY IMMEDIATELY THOUGH
Another very interesting tidbit that emerged from this interview is the wiggle room that Wilder has in receiving his much needed do-over. Initially, it was believed that if the Bronze Bomber took the rematch, he would have to do so in his next fight, which would likely transpire around June or July.
This rapacious turn around spelled disaster in the minds of many. Whether a fan of Wilder or a gleeful, giddy antagonist, there is no denying that the Bronze Bomber absorbed a serious thumping in February. And everyone from the real life Muhammad Ali to the fictional Rocky and T’challa the Black Panther have taken their lumps and had to go somewhere to recover. There is no shame in that. Hell, even Batman got his back broke.
So, by walking through the fire that he did only to take minimal time off before jumping back in the ring appeared like Team Wilder was begging for trouble. Now, we know that the Alabaman heavy-hitter can take a slower and more strategic approach to the rematch.
“All I can tell you is what I know, not what I imagine, not what I foresee but what I know. And what I know is there is a contract in place which provides that a third fight can happen on the basis of the winner of Saturday night, Tyson Fury, getting 60% and Wilder getting 40%.
It also provides that Wilder, as the loser, has to decide within 25 days from the date of the fight. Whether he wants that immediate rematch, it’s all up to Deontay. He can say ‘no, let Fury fight somebody else, I’ll fight somebody else.’ All of this is up in the air but the guy who holds the answer is Deontay Wilder. He can opt out of the fight now and get the fight down the line, he can go forward with the rematch now, that’s his right and it’s up to him.”
[When asked if Wilder could get a tune-up and still get the rematch in writing] “Are you stupid?! Are you stupid, you asking me that question? If Al Haymon who represents this guy, if they decide they want the fight later, you don’t think it’s going to be in writing?! And like another ten pages outlining these rights.
I’m just saying, nobody is talking about making empty promises and leaving it up in the air. This is a big business and everything will be spelled out into the last detail. Now of course, if Deontay Wilder wants to go ahead with the immediate rematch, there is no further paper work, its done.
…if he wants the immediate rematch, then we have to decide. The contract says by mid-July but it may be better to do it in September or October because the big stadium in Las Vegas where the Raiders are going to play would be open by then and this could be the first fight in that magnificent facility.”
MUCH TO PONDER OVER
On the outside looking in, taking a tune up and then fighting Fury in the fall sounds like the tastiest of all available options. It would give Wilder the most time to let his body heal and mind refocus. It would also provide him the opportunity to get back to his winning ways while tweaking a few new and or improved tactics in the ring.
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By: Bakari Simpson